Membership schemes can be a fantastic way of increasing your income and building support at the same time. Or they can be a drain on resources and a cause for sleepless nights. Getting the operation right is essential to create a scheme that keeps on ‘giving’ to your museum or organisation year after year.
In this article for Arts Professional, Alex Youel explains some of the key things to consider. Whilst the article is written for arts organisations and perhaps larger ones at that, there are plenty of useful things for any organisation with a membership scheme to consider.
The article covers the importance of having rock-solid administration, supported by a database which is up to the job. He points out that, with this in place, you can glean a lot of information about your members and use this to try out and track the effectiveness of different ways of keeping members engaged and subscribed. He also discusses the pros and cons of newsletters, magazines and e-communications as well as having a dedicated members’ area on your website, although not all his suggestions will be appropriate for every organisation.
He rounds up by saying, “So, in short, a membership scheme can be a terrific idea but only if:
- there is a good ‘fit’ with your arts business [or museum / heritage organisation]
- it is designed right from the outset
- you are prepared in advance for the operational requirements (people, processes and technology) and governance implications
- you are in it for the long term.”